Angel Hotel in Bethlehem where the coronavirus cases tested positive. (WAFA Images / Ahmad Mizher)
BETHLEHEM, Thursday, March 05, 2020 (WAFA) – Minister of Health Mai Kaileh confirmed today that there are seven cases of coronavirus in Palestine, the first since the outbreak of the deadly virus.
She said at a press conference in Bethlehem that after examining 20 Palestinians suspected of having the disease who worked at a hotel in this southern West Bank city where a group of Greek tourists had stayed between February 23 and 27 and after some members of the group were tested positive after returning home, seven people have tested positive with the coronavirus disease.
The seven, she said, all Palestinians, were admitted to a quarantine set up in Jericho especially for corona cases where they will undergo treatment.
Bethlehem has declared a state of emergency immediately after reports of discovery of coronavirus cases in the city even though confirmation came hours later after samples from the seven were sent to Israeli centers for further confirmation.
When the results came back positive, the health ministry decided to continue with the earlier measures that included quarantining Angle Hotel where the tourist stayed and the workers proved infected with the virus, closing all educational facilities in the city and nearby towns as well as closing churches, mainly the Nativity Church where Christ was believed born, and mosques for 14 days, and cancelling all public and private events in the district where a large number of people gather at the same time.
All hotel reservations for tourists were also cancelled and the annual Bethlehem marathon scheduled for later this month was also cancelled. Public transportation were also fumigated.
The health minister said all measures will be taken to prevent the spread of the disease.